Equality for all!
During these unprecedented times we need to unify as one!
Please sign this letter so we can forward it to our union representatives:
Please allow this correspondence to serve as an expression of concern from an assembly of APFA flight attendants, which has now been endorsed by over ______ members. Our intent is to make clear our position and our collective dissent with respect to the recent decisions made by the APFA dated April 5, 2020. We hope that by outlining our position, APFA leadership will reconsider its current proposals and adopt a more equitable procedure effective immediately.
To be sure, we understand that these are unprecedented times and circumstances. Similarly, we understand that American Airlines and the APFA have to make difficult decisions regarding temporary company policies and procedures affecting its employees while balancing the needs of the company. However, it is clear that rather than protecting the interests of all APFA flight attendants, union leadership has left many to suffer undue hardship over the coming months – hardship that we believe can be avoided. We are asking only that our APFA leaders fight for the interests of all of its members, as mandated in the spirit and language of the American Airlines Flight Attendant Agreement Between AA, Inc. and APFA. As such, here’s what we propose:
- Lineholder’s Bidding:
With respect to PBS, we reject APFA’s assertion that the system “cannot be adjusted.” The system must have the capability to adapt to changes in the industry, whether foreseen or unforeseen. Such capability is necessary not only to ensure fairness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but to set a precedent for the years to come. Adjustments to the PBS system, or temporary alternatives to PBS must be implemented in order to ensure that the workload, compensation, and stimulus benefits are equally distributed among active members during the COVID-19 crisis.
As it stands, the PBS system procedure has effectively forced all junior flight attendants to assume the entirety of the workload during the ongoing pandemic with no guaranteed hours and no pay protection. To the contrary, senior flight attendants are guaranteed 70 hours of pay with pay protection, despite not having to work any trips. Further, senior flight attendants may pick up trips on top of their 70-hour guarantee with highest seniority. We believe that this policy as it stands is inequitable. We aim to work along side our coworkers and we do not wish to cause division within our ranks. We believe that the present policy has done just that.
In the alternative, we propose that line averages are reduced for everyone who elects not to take a VXLOA or VLOA to 30-40 hours and are distributed accordingly among all active flight attendants. Additionally, 70 hours of pay must be guaranteed for all active flight attendants during the ongoing crisis with pay protection. Those who choose not to work due to concerns over the virus will have the option to take paid leaves.
If the PBS system cannot (due to technological or logistical impossibility) implement these changes, then we propose that we temporarily suspend use of the PBS system and adopt an interim method of flight bidding, such as paper or online direct bidding.
- Paid Leaves
For those who have elected to take VXLOA of 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, the number of guaranteed paid hours must be increased. The decision to take a VXLOA was not made lightly for most. Many of us had no other choice but to take the leave due to living with elderly loved ones or those who have underlying conditions – or being a member of those groups ourselves. As it stands, nineteen (19) hours is wholly insufficient to provide compensation and security to hardworking and loyal employees. Nineteen hours accounts for only 25% of our base pay.
First, 19 hours is not reflective of the minimum hours routinely worked but for a global pandemic. Each month, APFA members are required to work at least forty (40) hours to maintain compliance with AA policies and procedures. It follows that those taking extended voluntary leaves should receive the same. It was the intent of the Federal stimulus package to adequately compensate employees who are affected by the virus and may lose work as a result. After all, it is fair to say that the company made clear that due to the decline in available hours and present circumstances, APFA members were encouraged to take leaves. And second, other airlines have managed to secure significantly higher pay for workers who take voluntary leaves – Spirit (36), Southwest, (40), Republic Airways (50), Frontier (37.5 – 50), Jetblue (36).
We believe that a guaranteed base pay of forty (40) hours for those who have taken a VXLOA or VLOA is fair and equitable in light of the aforementioned.
*If anyone is currently receiving unemployment they can choose to stick with 19 hour leaves. For those that do not wish or are not covered under unemployment shall receive 40 hours.
- Safety Equipment
For those that are working during the COVID-19 crisis, they must be provided with the following safety and protective equipment: Face masks, gloves, antiviral wipes, and hand sanitizer.
- Hazard Pay
Our argument here is simple. Flight attendants are risking their lives every day to keep our airline and our country moving forward. Many have already been infected with COVID-19 and it is fair to say that many more will contract the virus while performing their duties. As a result, all flight attendants who have worked or will continue working from March 1, 2020 onward should receive hazard pay. Procedurally, we leave the methods in which hazard pay will be calculated and distributed to the sound judgment of APFA leadership.
On behalf of the undersigned union members, we sincerely thank you for your time and consideration. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our concerns and proposals in greater detail. We trust that you will do the right thing and seek to adequately represent the interests of all union members and fight for our collective best interest.
APFA union members